Blatter praises female candidate?
PORT LOUIS, Mauritius (AP)
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With world soccer leaders under pressure to make concrete progress in reform, FIFA President Sepp Blatter praised the looks of one of the four women vying to become the body's first permanent female executive committee member.
In his first public speech in Mauritius on Wednesday at the Asian Football Confederation's regional congress, Blatter called Australian candidate Moya Dodd ''a good candidate and a good-looking candidate. ''
He added he preferred the term ''lady'' to female when referring to the new position.
''I can tell you she's good. She's very good. So good luck,'' Blatter said of Dodd, a former Australia international who is now a lawyer and an AFC vice president.
Dodd will compete against candidates from Burundi, Turks and Caicos Islands and New Zealand at the FIFA Congress for a four-year term for a woman on the governing body's executive committee, with the winner becoming the first permanent female member.
Dodd said she was not offended by Blatter's view of her.
''I was more focused on his earlier comments that I was a good candidate, a very good candidate,'' Dodd said. ''Knowing him as I do, I certainly took no offense.''
The meeting was presided over by newly elected AFC President Sheik Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, who Blatter also complimented while taking a swipe at the former leader and Blatter's one-time rival for the FIFA leadership, Mohamed bin Hammam.
It was good for the AFC ''to get back the full trust and confidence in the leadership,'' Blatter said.
Paving the way for the direction of the main FIFA Congress, which runs Thursday and Friday, Blatter confirmed in his brief speech that he would ask FIFA's 209 member countries to defer a decision on introducing age and term limits for senior officials, sending it instead to the 2014 congress for possible debate.
Looking at introducing a maximum age for FIFA positions - including the presidency - and limiting their number of terms were only a small part of FIFA's overall reform process, Blatter said. He's bucking criticism that it's a sign that FIFA is ignoring key reforms.
''I will ask the congress to postpone this problem and give it time to prepare the proposal,'' he said. ''National associations will have to write if they want or don't want limitations. It is not an important point. It's a small point in this congress and this reform.''
FIFA's executive committee had already announced on Tuesday that the age and mandate limits would not be voted on at the congress.